Video streaming service provider Antfarm will facilitate the live video broadcast of the commemoration of the 67th anniversary of the Warsaw Flights that took place during August and September 1944.
The commemoration is to be held at the Katyn Memorial in Ethel Gray park, Johannesburg, on 3 September, and will be attended by a list of dignitaries, including Bryan Jones, the only living flight participant from the famous 1944 Warsaw Airlift.
Jones, a South African, was a navigator on one of the flights to Warsaw in 1944. His aircraft was shot down over Warsaw and he and his crew were taken prisoner.
The Warsaw flights have heartfelt memories for Poles and South African airman. By 1 August 1944, the Russians had advanced within miles of east of Warsaw. History has it that General “Bor” Komorowski, and the leaders of the Polish underground resistance, judged the time to be right for rebellion against the Nazi occupying forces. Stalin, however, halted his troops 15 miles east of the Vistula River 48 hours prior to the Polish Home Guard launching their offensive.
In desperation the Polish Home Guard turned to the British and Americans for much needed arms, ammunition and medical supplies. These could only be delivered by air drops. The proposed air drops meant a journey of 1 800 km from bases in southern Italy over heavily defended occupied territory.
Out of the 186 sorties, 92 were deemed successful, with 31 aircraft lost – 17 on the nights of August 13-16. A total of 68 South African pilots lost their lives during the Warsaw Air Lift mission.
Jacek Dziembowski, a director of Antfarm – himself of Polish decent – said this is the fourth 1944 Warsaw airlift commemoration that his company will be video streaming.
“We are honoured to be doing this. It is an awe-inspiring human story – and one that shines in the history annuals when it comes to showing utter bravery and comradeship.”
The webcast will commence at 11am local time and can be viewed directly, or later at http://www.polonia.co.za/warsaw flights